Congratulations, you have made a sound decision to purchase a modern high efficiency clean burning Country Flame or MagnuM wood stove or fireplace. Now comes the burning question on what fuel will be appropriate for your new appliance. There is substantial information online to guide you through making sure your experience will be a positive one and you will have years of trouble free operation. Let’s chop down a few questions into size and get you started. Then we will direct you to some sources where you can get more in-depth information.
To get the best possible heat efficiency out of your wood burning appliance, you need to burn well seasoned wood. But does it matter what kind of wood that you use? Most types of wood will burn very well in your unit if it is well seasoned (2 years is best) and dry. It is best to use hard woods like Oak and Ash if they are available, but most soft woods will also burn well. You can check with your local forest service to see if certain wood in your area is best not to be used as it might produce excessive creosote and cause chimney problems. The length of time that a wood fire will last and how much heat that it will produce is mostly dependent on the design of the appliance. Most types of wood produce the same BTU’s of heat per pound, so it is a matter of how fast you burn up the wood in the appliance that dictates how hot the unit will be and how much heat is produced. Of course your hardwoods will last longer and produce less ash that most soft woods.
Ok, my wood has been well seasoned by the sun but how do I know that the moisture level is right? Do I have to go out and get equipment that will check the moisture level or is there another way?
No, you don’t have to get a degree in wood testing and you don’t have to spend money on sophisticated equipment. Sound judgment and proper storage of your wood supply will assure that you will always have dry wood to burn. When purchasing wood always ask the wood supplier to verify that the wood has been seasoned for a year or preferably two and that it has been kept covered. Wood that is open to the elements will start rotting from the bottom of the pile until all of your wood is wet and rotting. Make sure that the wood is off of the ground by piling it on top of planks or wood pallets so that the air can circulate underneath it. Cover the top and sides of the wood but allow some air movement so that moisture will not collect under the covering.
No matter how well you store your wood it will have gained a little moisture by fall. It is good to uncover your wood pile toward fall on those nice sunny windy days and let the wind dry out the summer humidity. Be sure to cover it back up though before it rains. It usually takes a month of freezing temperatures though before fall wood is going to burn well.
The trick is to be patient in the fall when you are first starting to burn. Leave the damper on the appliance open a little more than usual, and you might have to leave the door slightly open for the first ½ hour or so until the wood gets burning really hot. Use a good supply of kindling wood to start the fire and build small pieces of wood on top. Your fire will be going in no time.
For more information on wood burning appliances, how to operate your appliance and important videos go to wood burning stoves and fireplaces on MagnumHeat.com . A great source to purchase a video on wood burning practices is the National Heath, Patio & Barbecue Association website www.hpba.org where you can purchase your copy of BURN WISE, a video guide to operating your Wood Stove efficiently.